3.5 stars for Jean Georges Vongerichten's J&G Grill at the St. Regis Bal Harbour

 

3.5 stars for Jean Georges Vongerichten's J&G Grill at the St. Regis Bal Harbour

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Valerie Nahmad Schimel

Though only a few months old, the spectacular J&G Grill in the new St. Regis Resort Bal Harbour has earned a spot on the short list of serious Miami dining destinations.  It is the creation of world-renowned Jean Georges Vongerichten, who gets support from a talented team of toques led by chef de cuisine Richard Gras, a Ritz Carlton alum.

The menu is as exquisite as the room, which whispers luxury and telegraphs simplicity. A silver-gray pallet combines thick linen upholstery and squiggly charcoal carpeting with soaring ceilings strung with pewter bell lights. Add to that floor-to-ceiling views of the palm-lined beach and you have a uniquely tropical urban vibe. Tables are spaced to allow intimate conversation while maintaining the sense that you are part of a lively scene. The waiters, bussers and hostesses in natty suits and form-fitting gray wrap dresses are as well dressed as the guests. Even more impressive, the entire staff seems well-trained and utterly polite. The sommelier especially deserves kudos for his knowledgeable advice, pleasant demeanor and generous pours.

What Worked

  • A 2,500-bottle wine vault
  • Warm and crusty breads
  • Delightful amuse bouche
  • Crisp, crusty signature black truffle pizza (pictured)
  • Bright-as-sunshine pea soup with a pool of crème fraiche and Parmesan-encrusted croutons
  • House-made fettuccine with an ever-so-lightly creamy, tangy Meyer lemon sauce, coarsely ground pepper and a gentle grating of aged Parmesan
  • Perfectly cooked sweet and tender pinky-sized shrimp laid over a tangy yogurt sauce spiked with Key lime and a mound of peppery grated radish
  • Postage-stamp sized tabs of salmon sashimi laid over squares of crispy rice cake with a hot chipotle-laced mayonnaise and a few sprigs of baby watercress
  • Raw hamachi with soy and ginger dressing
  • Plump peekytoe crab cake
  • Generously portioned and gorgeously plated main courses
  • Superb soy-glazed short ribs
  • Juicy veal chop with pistachio pesto
  • Light-as-lace lobster gently steamed, cooked with a trace of tempura batter and served over a warm slaw of curly cabbage with hits of ginger, scallion and mint
  • "Exuberant " salmon with black olives and passion fruit puree
  • Roasted mahi mahi over vinagered bok choy balancing color, texture, flavor and weight
  • Crunchy strawberry and rhubarb cheesecake

 

What Didn't Work

  • "Not nearly crisp enough" hot and salty orn and jalapeño fritters
  • A 20-minute wait for dessert
  • A mango upside down cake topped with an underripe slab of stringy mango

 

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